Web Cam At Wick Street Party
Happy New Year To Everyone From

Take a look and leave a message.

A Collie In Pets Corner

Trinkie Outdoor Pool, Wick On Last Day Of 2005 - No Swimmers  - Great Day

Glorious Weather On Last Day Of 2005 Sees Kite Flying At Old Wick

Wick Hogmanay Web Cam - The link will go live on 31 Dec
Party Starts 10.00pm 31 December 2005 - 1.30pm 1 Jan 2006

Web Cam For Wick Hogmanay Street Party
We hope to have a web cam on the web site to bring you pictures from the Wick Hogmanay Street Party.  This year the Street parties at Wick and Thurso look as if they will be better than ever  - weather permitting.  Thanks go to various people for the set up - Doug Mackay for setting the system up, Crown Bar for the space and Victor Fraser Accountants for use of their phone line and Neil Fernie from for doing the link work on the web site and the server.

Don't Drink and Drive Message Once Again From Police
As Scottish police forces step up checks on motorists at the festive season for drinking and driving it makes sense to take taxi if your are in doubt.  Print our Taxi Telephone  list and keep it handy

Another Star For Pets Corner
This is Maisie - the latest addition to Pets Corner.  Maisie is a two year old collie cross.  If you would like your pet added to the growing galleries send the photos by email to



Roads & Weather Information - Emergency Telephone Numbers For Winter Conditions Etc
If you want to check on the roads, weather or contact a council service in an emergency check our Emergency Numbers page.  The page also links to Weather information sites, Schools Winter Weather page to check if schools are closed or other arrangements and much more.  The link to the Emergency Numbers page can be found in the left column on this page anytime. A link is also on the page to the Traffic Scotland web site from the Scottish Executive that replaces the NADICS web site.

Pennyland 1984
Photo supplied by Edward Redstone  Pennyland Schooldays Index

Schooldays Index


More Oil Related Photos From Caithness Men
These latest photos are from Colin Campbell - Sunset Off the Mississippi River - A T4000 Excavation Tool also Mississippi River and the Titan 2 off Mexico.  A link to the Rotech subsea sites on the page where you can view an animation of how it works.  The oil industry is huge worldwide and viewing these photos from Caithness oil workers shows how deeply involved Caithness folk are in many places.  We hope you all had a happy Christmas and have great New Year when it comes.  Send any oil related photos to for inclusion in the section.  If you have not seen the earlier Caithness Workers Oil Related photos Start Here

The new Head Teacher of the 992-pupil Thurso High School is Dr Fiona Grant who is currently Depute Head Teacher at Thurso High School. She will take up her post after the Christmas school holidays. She succeeds John Inkster, who retired at Christmas after 16 years as Head Teacher.  Dr Grant began her career as teacher of Biology, Chemistry and Science at Thurso High School in 1992. She then became Principal Teacher of Biology in 1995 and then Depute Rector in 2001 all at Thurso High. Dr Grant said "I am looking forward to taking up post as Head Teacher in Thurso High, and I wish Mr Inkster all the best in his retirement."

Dounreay Employees Donated £500 Of Toys To The Caithness FM Toy Appeal
For the third year Dounreay Employees Charity Fund have supported Caithness FM's Christmas Toy Appeal, with £500 of toys supplied by Alacam. All toys collected by the community radio station stay in the county and are distributed to the most appropriate homes by the Social Work Department.  Pictured from left to right: Mark Deighan, Jackie Johnson of Caithness FM; John Deighan, Chairman of Dounreay Employees Charity Fund and Alan Cameron of Alacam.

Dunbeath Castle Lit Up For Christmas
Thanks to Phil Rawlins for this spectacular view of Dunbeath Castle taken on 'Christmas Eve.  If anyone is passing through Dunbeath take look over to the castle or look back down the coast if travelling north to see the castle lit up on the cliffs.
Dunbeath Castle Index

Christmas 2005 Pages


Nathan Warmack's Kilt Petition Past 11,000 Signatures
The pace of sign up has slowed but still ticking away.

Early Caithness Cricket Photos
These two early Caithness cricket photos were sent in by Murdo F Tait who used to be known as Murray Tait in his younger days in Wick.  Many of the faces are familiar to Murdo but it is hard to remember that far back.  If anyone else has information about these two photos we will add it to the section.  Murdo says he is regular visitor to and says perhaps folk in their eighties might remember him.  Lets us know if you do and we will add to this section.  Thanks to Murdo Tait for sending in these excellent photos.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has spoken of the need for language support for the children of migrant workers settling in the Highlands as a part of the Fresh Talent Initiative. Mrs Macmillan commented," I have been concerned for some time about the lack of support for the children of migrant workers coming to the Highlands. Many of those coming to the area are from former eastern block countries, but we are also receiving workers from many other parts of the world. It is an absolute necessity for the children of these incoming workers to learn English as soon as possible to help them integrate into the community.

Gibson Backs Chef Rick Stein's Message On Local Produce
Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has lodged a motion in parliament calling on the Scottish Executive to give wholehearted support for production and consumption of high quality, locally produced food. Mr Gibson believes that due to changes in lifestyles, local food production will become more important in future and believes that the current deal for small scale local producers and the lack of locally based processing facilities hinders the amount that a communities can produce.

Nathan Warmack's Kilt Petition Nudges Towards 11,000 Signatures
Sign ups at Nathan Warmack's kilt petition set going by clan Gunn USA has slowed slightly as folk get tucked into their Christmas Dinner but are likely to increase as folk begin to get back to looking in on the web.

Have a Green New Year
As the festivities draw to a close, many Scots are beginning to think about making New Year resolutions. While these usually take the form of dieting, giving up smoking or getting fit, this year why not consider improving your environment as well as your health? Wishing everyone a Green New Year, Scotland's environment watchdog, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has tips to help you become more environmentally friendly in 2006.

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the everyone living in the region The Highland Council is on course to reach it's recycling target of 17.6% by April 2006. Councillor Bill Fulton, the Council's spokesperson for Waste Management said: "Over the last year there have been major investment in the recycling infrastructure and to date the support from the public has been terrific. However, as the amount of waste we produce steadily increases there is no room for complacency if the current success is to be continued.

Bathing Water Quality Report Out Now
Bathing water quality in Scotland continues to improve with 57 out of 60 designated beaches passing tough European standards.  Dunnet Beach one of the beaches in the monitoring programme continues to show the water is of excellent quality in most samples takes in 2005  The full results are published in a report by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) out on 23 Dec 2005. It reveals that of the 60 sites monitored, 23 were of good quality meeting EC 'mandatory' standards for the season with 33 achieving the stricter 'guideline' standards and being of excellent quality.  Not too many swimmers about in Caithness at this time of year we think.  But if you know different.....................
Diageo Distilling Ltd Fined £10,000
Drinks giant Diageo Distilling Limited has been fined £10,000 for polluting a tributary of a popular salmon fishing river in Ross-shire.

Happy Christmas From Max At
Happy Christmas From Max and all of us at  Max is in Caithness with Harley from Cumbernauld and no doubt you will be seeing more of the mischievous rascal over the holidays.


1st CVA - Do You Know More about This Photo?
Taken at Dunrobin, Golspie in about 1890 of volunteers. The picture is said to be of Caithness volunteers and the small caption on the pint says '8TH. 1ST, C V A GOLSPIE'. This may refer to a camp held there - this was quite common - or may have been a group raised in the area. In George Watson's article he describes those Caithness Artillery Volunteers though does not list this particular group. See Also William Adams

More Christmas Lights Around Caithness

Tracking Santa

Hogmanay Street Parties In Wick and Thurso
So far we only have the poster for the Thurso Hogmanay street party that kicks off the evening on the 31st at 9.30pm.  Wick usually starts about 10.00 but we will keep you all posted when we get the full details.. If anyone in Thurso has the ability to set up a web cam overlooking the street party get in touch and we will tell you how to send us the pictures and beam them out over the web for you.  You need to have a broadband connection, computer, web cam and a telephone link as near to and preferably over the action.  In Wick it takes plenty of co-operation from the Crown bar with line from accountants Victor Fraser set up by Doug Mackay with Niall here at the web site setting up the link to get pictures from Market

Nathan Warmack Kilt Petition Breaks Through 10,000 Signatures
The kilt campaign for Nathan Warmack to be allowed to wear his kilt to school functions at Jackson High Missouri shows every sign of keeping going.  A bid to change school policy is still likely to be made in the near future and the campaigners are gathering support from a growing range of people from around the globe.  See below for more information and links.

Highland Councillors are focusing on four main campaigning priorities for 2006. They want to improve transport, develop communications, enhance investment in infrastructure and win a fairer allocation of Government funding.  Convener Alison Magee said real progress had been made on many campaigning fronts in 2005, most notably the decision by NHS Highland to reinstate 24 x 7 consultant maternity services in Caithness and North Sutherland. She said: "The Council has been actively engaged in promoting campaign priorities at all levels of the political process and been working closely with our partners to deliver real benefits to the people of the Highlands. We can be pleased with the progress we are making but must maintain the momentum and react to changing circumstances."

Earlier Years With The TA In Caithness
A new gallery in the TA section.  If anyone has old Caithness TA photos they would like to add to this new section just email them to
TA Index


Guest Musician for Mid-night Carol Service In Wick
People attending the popular mid-night “Carols by Candlelight” service in Pulteneytown Parish Church on Christmas Eve will not only enjoy singing the well loved carols but will also hear special music and drama from the church’s Youth Group. In addition they will have the added treat of hearing one of the most outstanding musicians Caithness has produced in recent years, viola player Carol Ella.  After an outstanding student career Carol has played at concerts across Europe and the United States and is now a permanent member of the prestigious BBC Symphony Orchestra. She was invited to join the orchestra in the summer in time to take part in ‘Last night of the Proms’. She is home for a brief holiday before flying off to play in Seville. The Minister of the church, Rev. Bill Wallace, said “ we are delighted that Carol has agreed so willingly to take part in the Service.”  The Service starts at 11.30p.m. and all are welcome.

Carol Concert In Wick
Two hundred people at last night's Carol Concert in the Parish Church Wick joined Wick Choral and the Caithness Orchestra to join in a number of traditional Christmas carols.  The choral performed carols from around the world and the orchestra entertained the audience with two pieces by Benjamin Britten which were met with enthusiastic applause.  This annual concert is, for many people, a feature of the Christmas season and the audience participation is always of a high quality. Once again this year, audience members were invited to join Choral for the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah and about 10 brave souls sat in with the choir for this much-loved anthem.

Petition For Nathan Warmack and His Kilt Breaks 9000 signatures At 1.15am UK Time
CNN  NBC  But Another 120 Sources worldwide Here as story goes truly global on the web
Minneapolis Star Tribune  Ely Times  Electric New Paper (photo of Nathan here)
abc News  Los Angeles Times  Guardian  MLive Newsflash  Scotsman  Daily Record  Sydney Morning Herald  Ireland Online  Kansas City Star
Evening Times
Heartland News

On Google Groups
A Few Blogs
- Ones and Zeros  Monsters and Critics  Lucianne  EGONS

7.45pm UK Time and the Kilt Petition Is Flying As it passes the 8000 Mark
If you have not seen it take look and links below for more information on how this Kilt story about the young Nathan Warmack and the order to remove his kilt for high school dance has gone global. And it is not just Scots and their ancestors from all over the world now rallying to this petition site but many others seeing a fundamental injustice that could easily apply to almost anyone who appreciates the heritage of the country they originate from.  More and more non Scots are signing the petition started by Clan Gunn in the USA.

Mary Scanlon MSP Hopes Lesson On Ferry Across Pentland Firth Will Be Learned
Following the release of the Audit Scotland report today on the Ferry Service from Scrabster To Orkney which has had £71 million of subsidies in three years to enable it to keep going Mary Scanlon MSP hopes lessons will be learned
Commenting on the Auditor General's report on the Northlink Ferry services contract, Mary Scanlon MSP commented; 'People and businesses in Orkney have been fully aware of the problems relating to the tendering process, and leading up to the appointment of Northlink in December 2000. "I hope that the Transport Minister will now take the necessary time to take on board the points raised in the Auditor' General's report.

Ceilidh and Lady - In Pets Corner

Mother Goose Panto Photos Now On The Wick Players Web Site
Lots of photos of this years Mother Goose panto in Wick and an offer of even more at higher quality to anyone handing in a blank CD to the Wick Players web master in Wick.



The Highland Council’s Environmental Health Officers are warning catering business and members of the public in the Highlands to be on the lookout for certain French cheese and butter products that have been identified as possibly being contaminated with harmful bacteria. The products are being withdrawn from sale because of concerns about possible contamination with E. coli O26. Some strains of E. coli O26 can cause severe food poisoning and people should not eat this cheese or butter. Yesterday, the Food Standards Agency issued a warning about cheeses made in France by Laiterie Fromagerie du Val d’Ay-Etablissement REAUX.  Only a small amount has been sold in Highland.

Trading Standards Tighten Up On Underage Cigarette Sales From Vending Machines
Highland pub landlords are being warned they may face prosecution if they don't do more to stop children buying cigarettes from vending machines. A recent survey by Trading Standards Officers with The Highland Council has revealed pub vending machines could be seriously undermining efforts to prevent underage tobacco sales. Officers found 38% of pubs and hotels visited had cigarette vending machines located in unsupervised areas such as corridors, vestibules and toilets, places so far from the bar that busy staff cannot properly supervise them, and could result in underage children easily obtaining cigarette without challenge.  Fines could be up to £2500.

Miller Academy Choir About 1956
Photo sent by Fiona Cameron
Names from Fiona Cameron & Barbara Farmer (nee Cowan)
The Miller Academy Photos Index

Main Schooldays Photos Index for other Caithness Schooldays photos.
Other Early Caithness Photos now has huge and growing collection of photos in many section from the FPB (Front Page Bulletins Archive) to the growing collections in our A - Z Of Caithness  There are also many photos in other sections

Castletown Santa's Grotto Raises £362
The photos are still coming in for the Christmas Gallery.  This latest one is from Castletown where the Drill Hall committee organised a Santa's Grotto to help raise funds.  if anyone wants to add Christmas photos to the gallery email them to


240 Attended Wick High School Prom Tonight - Here Are A Few
As always a big turnout from the 4th 5th and 6th year pupils for the wick High School Prom.  All the men were in Highland dress and the ladies in a stunning array of evening dresses.  All the young ladies have booked up hairdressers and make-up people months in advance.  Earlier this evening dinners at various hotels across Wick for a meal before they all head to the school for the dance.  The night was just beginning to get going when we too these photos.  If you were at the dance and want to add your photos to the gallery just email them to

Thrumster Lads Off to Wick High Prom Tonight
Three Thrumster lads were ready for the Wick High School prom tonight. Liam Miller Liam Sutherland and Shaun Oman all from Thrumster were kitted out in the full Highland dress and raring to go.

Meantime controversy over Nathan Warmack's kilt at the prom in Jackson High continues to hit the headlines now around the world

Here on we highlighted the lad who was told he could not wear the kilt to school dance and had to change.  The web site petition has caught the imagination of the newspapers and Scots around the world are heading over to sign the petition.  An appeal for the other items to make up the full outfit are coming in and headlines seem to be growing for the campaign.

Here are a few Petition Reaches 2078 Signatures At Midnight
Kansas City Star 
Scotsman  Daily Record  Sydney Morning Herald

Ireland Online

Thurso High School 1978 Reunion
Were you part of the 1978 intake at Thurso High School ? We are planning a reunion for the summer of 2006.  Email the organisers at  if you might be interested or want to be kept posted on the details.

MV Youth Volunteering Award Ceremony
Five young people recently became the recipients of the prestigious Gold MV Award for volunteering while participating in the Wick Players production of Mother Goose. The Gold Award is achieved when a volunteer accumulates 200 hours of volunteering which can take place over a two year period. The five young people involved with the panto had been in intensive rehearsals since August and fulfilled their required 200 hours on the 18th December. This Award is a recognised award of excellence endorsed by the Scottish Executive and the Gold award is signed by the First Minister.

Mount Pleasant School - Latest Newsletter

Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) - Latest Grants Approvals

Firework test purchases at 23 firework retailers in the Highlands using a number of young volunteers, aged 15 and 16, have revealed a failure of three retailers in Highland to restrict the sale of fireworks to children and young people. Nigel MacKenzie, Head of Trading Standards with The Highland Council, said: "The detection of this illegal activity would not have been possible without the recent authorisation by the Lord Advocate for us to use the services of young people in this way.

When members of the public visit any Highland Council office or property in the New Year they will benefit from a totally smoke-free environment. From Sunday 1st January, 2006 a complete smoking ban comes into effect in all Council premises and vehicles.  As the major employer in the Highlands, the Council is demonstrating its clear commitment to public health and to improving the health of its 12,800 employees by implementing the ban, ahead of the Scottish-wide ban which takes effect from 26th March, 2006.  No smoking signs are being erected at entrances and throughout all Council owned and leased premises including vehicles; where appropriate. Smoking rooms will no longer be available. Employees and visitors will not be permitted to smoke at entrance doorways and approaches to Council premises.
Highland Council Smoking Policy From 1 January 2006
Cash To Stop Smoking Debate In The Forum

Christmas trees - a growth area - Manchester Evening News
Article highlights Paul Haley Paul Haley  who is for the first time selling pines cultivated on his farm at Bradshaw, Bolton. He planted them five years ago. Me Haley also owns an 800-acre farm in Caithness, Scotland, where he grows tens of thousands of Nordmann, Fraser and Noble firs along with Norway Spruce.

Christmas Lights At Henrietta Terrace, Wick
Thanks to Colin Stewart for this batch of photos from Henrietta Terrace in Wick.  Send more Caithness lights to for inclusion in the Christmas lights in Caithness gallery.  If anyone in Sutherland wants to send some in we will start a Sutherland Lights gallery.

National park says not on our land to wind farm - Scotsman
Anyone with an interest in the wind farms issue will be interested to hear that
The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has come out against a wind farm proposal very near to the boundary of the national park. The development is at Glenkirk, Tomatin and is the third one CPNA have objected to.

Caithness Christmas Photo Gallery Biggest Yet With Over 400 Photos So Far
As the years go by more and more of you are joining in by sending photos of school parties, lunches pantos and more.  There is no ways we could get round all these events so thanks to everyone who takes the trouble to send in photos for the Christmas pages and to everyone who has sent items in for the rest of the site throughout the year.  Caithness probably now has one of the biggest collections of photos online of any county in the Highlands and possibly in the UK.  If you have more Caithness Christmas photos you would like to share with everyone send them in and we will add them to this years set.

Christmas Lunch Looks Scrumptious At Hillhead School, Wick

Hillhead School, Wick - December Newsletter

Christmas Lights Around Caithness

A new Christmas Gallery to hold a few photos of Christmas lights around Caithness.  If anyone would like to add to the gallery take photo of some Caithness Christmas lights in your area and send them in.

Milton Children's Christmas Party
Milton Children had their Christmas Party at Staxigoe Hall where the recently installed bouncy castle is proving to be great draw.  Santa was on hand to give out the presents although this year the number of children was down due to the bug that has hit many of the county schools.  A few of the children could not make the party this year and presents will be delivered to them at home.  Anyone thinking about a party should think about Staxigoe Hall as the hire is cheap and you can hire the bouncy castle as well.  Electricity is paid on meter and the folk from Milton thought it was very good value for their party.

HAVE A GREEN CHRISTMAS - Recycling Arrangements In Caithness Over The Holidays
Over the Christmas period it is estimated that we will produce approximately 30% more waste than usual. In the UK,1 billion Christmas cards will be sent, 10 million turkeys will be sold 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper used, seven and a half million trees bought, an extra 750 million bottles, glass containers and 500 million drink cans used. Most of these items are thrown in to people's bins and end up on landfill sites. However, up to 60% of the waste that is thrown away can be recycled or composted. The Highland Council's Spokesman for Waste Management, Councillor Bill Fulton said: "This Christmas why not make a special effort to try and reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill by using the improved recycling facilities in Caithness provided by The Highland Council?"  The Recycling Centres in Thurso and Wick will be open as usual apart from closing all day of 25-27 December and the 1-4 January. Apart from these dates, the Thurso Centre will be open seven days a week from 11am-4.00pm over the holidays and Wick will be open Sundays from 11.00am ~ 5.00pm and then from Thursday to Saturday from 11.00am to 8.00pm. Both Centres will accept your extra cardboard packaging, old real Christmas trees, Christmas cards, paper wrapping paper (plastic & foil based paper cannot be recycled), tins, cans, glass bottles & jars for recycling.

Snow White Panto Played To Packed Houses - DVD & Video Of The Show Out Soon

Missed the Snow White Panto by Thurso Players? Well here are lots of photos from the show compliments of Thurso Players. Filming took place at all the performances and an edited version will be available shortly for sale.  It will be priced at £12.00 + £1.00 delivery for addresses outwith Thurso.  Anyone wanting a copy can get one by contacting Neil Macdonald at 5 Heathfield, Road, Thurso, KW14 7DT. Tel. 01847-896956 or via email

Volunteer Drivers   - Can You Spare Some Time?
One of the major challenges the local MS Branch has is transport. There is a limited availability locally of vehicles suitable for transporting wheelchair users, especially when they are trying to be in the same place at the same time. In particular, they have problems getting to the Therapy Groups run by the branch, where physiotherapy is offered, and the problem is worst for those who stand to benefit most. We have been offered a loan of a minibus which will carry four wheelchair users at the same time and urgently need volunteer drivers in Wick and Thurso areas so that we can use it.

Tenth Anniversary of the Opening of The Haven
Friday 16th December saw the 10th Anniversary of the official opening, by Colin Campbell of 'swaingan' Radio Caithness fame, of Caithness Mental Health Support Group's Drop In Centre, The Haven, in Bankhead Road, Wick.  The initiative to set up the Group came from the Social Work Dept. of Highland Regional Council which recognised the absence of any social work provision for people with mental illness within Caithness. Initially in December 1990 a Steering Committee was formed followed by the Group in October 1991.

Lybster Senior Citizens Christmas Party
130 people attended the Lybster Senior Citizens Christmas Party this year were entertained by various local musicians whilst tucking in to the festive fayre at the Portland Hotel. Amongst donations to the treat this year was Moray Firth Radio Charity Trust.

Send Your Christmas Message FREE To Everyone On The Message Board
All you need to do is register and await approval of your membership and then post your message. Registration approval may take minutes or hours depending on how busy we are.  We ceased the automatic approval that took seconds to deal with trouble makers abusing the system.  Anyone can read the messages in the forum including the classified ads that you can place items for sale free of charge.  The message board in an increasingly popular section of the web site and there may be over 100 people looking at any one time.

New Sport Section For
A complete overhaul of the sport section has been completed and several new features will make it easier to find items and keep it up to date.  The earlier version had become out of date.  The new section includes features such as the familiar submission for for news stories and new groups or to update existing groups d information.  New to the spot section is simple submission form for your local spots news stories.  You can submit an item about a local badminton competition, results of a league game or anything you think may be of interest.  If you want photos included with the story just email them to us and we will attach them to the story.  If you are involved with a sports group in Caithness please check the index and update any out of date entries using the form
In addition to over hauling the section Niall has been trawling the web site to pull over sport stories from the main web site making it easier to find them in their logical home.  The section incorporates a number of features including RSS Newsfeeds that can be used by any other web site wishing to carry items directly into their web site.  You require a suitable newsfeed reader to make this happen.  If a web master would like to have Caithness news a free newsfeed script is available from the Maxxblade web site.
More work on the new section will be ongoing but it really needs your items to make it interesting.

North School, Wick - Christmas Concert

Two Christmas Parties Fro Parent & Toddlers Groups At Pulteneytown Parish Church

Toddlers Christmas Party At Baptist Church, Wick

Ormle Christmas Lights Switched On
the Christmas Lights At Ormlie in Thurso were switched on by Caitlan Sutherland and Euan MacGregor with Santa looking on for good measure.



More Playbox Christmas Fun

Councillors To Agree Final Funding Package For Caithness Horizons at Thurso Town Hall
After a lower than requested amount being offered from the European Regional Development fund (ERDF) for the Thurso project and one in Nairn.  Highland councillors will today (Friday 15th December) be asked to agree a new set of funding to ensure the project can begin in early in 2006.  There is currently a shortfall of £400,000 in the £3 million project.  UKAEA and the NDA have agreed to put in £100,000 each and the council will make up the rest from the sale of property at Thor House and the pavilion over looking the beach.  This together with funds from community benefit on other developments will make up the £400,000 required to make up the full funds.  Caithness Horizons Web Site

Rags - A Dog That will Not Walk Without A Push
Latest addition to Pets Corner is Rags a Jack Russell type with an aversion to going for walks.  If anyone has found away round this problem let us know and we will pass it on.



Pulteneytown Academy School, Wick - Latest Newsletter
Instructions for collecting children for Christmas shows parties etc.

Mount Pleasant School, Thurso - Latest Newsletter

Wick's Renaissance Continues With More Good News
Two More Business units at the Business Park, Lochshell, Wick

Highlands And Islands Enterprise have applied for permission to put up two more units each with two spaces that can be leased singly or together.  The unit already build at the business park has been leased to the Health Service for Dental Training Unit and work will begin shortly to make it ready for equipment to be used.  Pentarq in Thurso are the Architects and the contract for building the units has been awarded to Tulloch Construction.  The new buildings will be similar to the one already in place with some small design alterations.
Changing Wick

You Have Not Won a Big Prize In A Lottery Draw If Notified By Email
Even if you receive emails telling you that you have won a prize after being selected from x number of names or email addresses DO Not reply.  These are scams designed to get your basic personal information and you must not give it out by email from unsolicited sources.  To win any lottery you need to have bought a ticket and you will know the place you bought it.  Emails from abroad about prizes in the lottery are just as bad as the scams telling you to help them move money for fee.  You may not stop them arriving in your email but ignore and delete them.  You can block email addresses so that they are automatically deleted in the future.  This is worth doing if you begin to receive large numbers of unwanted emails.  If you are new to the Internet do not get caught out this Christmas.  Remember they are all scams.  Make sure your children do not reply to any of them and any relatives, neighbours or friends who might think they have been lucky.  Internet Scams   and our other pet hate Telephone Sales Etc

Highland Council Service Arrangements for Caithness Christmas and New Year Period
23 December 2005 - 4 January 2006
Find this again in the Community Index

More From The Watten School Christmas Show

Santas Grotto - Castletown - Friday 16th at 6.30 in the Drill Hall
Teas and mince pies - shortbread raffle and bottle stall, tombola,  Parcel Stall

Scottish Society For Protection Of Cruelty To Animals (SSPCA) - Do Not Give Pets For Christmas
The SSPCA are yet again asking people not to give pets as Christmas presents.  Each year they see the results in unwanted animals being dumped or hearing from people who have problems with unwanted animals.  Remember pets will require care and attention for many years - up to 20 for cats and perhaps 15 for dogs.  They cost money to keep and the weekly bills may include other expenses such as insurance, vet bills and kennel fees if you go away on holiday.  Every year SSPCA get hundreds of new pets handed in after Christmas and the following weeks and months.  Taking on any animal needs to be discussed with all concerned and not given as presents.  Children will generally not look after pets without a lot of parental guidance.  SSPCA recommend you DO NOT GIVE PETS AS CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

MSP Expenses Published At Scottish Parliament - Pdf files
All the details for every MSP - the result of the Freedom of Information Act.  The Highland ones are here - Jamie Stone  Eleanor Scott  Jamie McGrigor  Mary Scanlon  Maureen MacMillan  Rob Gibson  James Mather  Peter Peacock

In case you missed it and are wondering Highland Councillors Expenses are Here
Westminster MP Expenses are Here
Distances make a huge difference as rural representatives may have much higher travel costs and may have other higher costs eg accommodation.

Thurso Players Pantomime 2005 Snow White - Still A Few Seats Left But Be Quick
Thurso Players take to the stage of Thurso High School this evening with their production of Snow White. The script, written by Stephen Reade, differs somewhat from the traditional version and is packed with subtle humour. There’s Snow White of course and her aunt and arch nemesis, the wicked Queen. Then there’s the Huntsman, hired by the Queen to dispose of Snow White before she turns 16 and inherits the castle and all the wealth of the Kingdom.  There’s love interest in the form of Brad Hill (Glyn Jackson) and a not so charming Prince Colin Pratt of Burnside (Iain MacDonald). A couple of strangely familiar brothers from Manchester, Noel and Liam, make an appearance from time to time intent on ‘splatting’ a demented Midge who continually invades the stage. Then there’s the seven, or is it eight, dwarves and ……well, for the rest you’ll just have to come along and see for yourselves.  Snow White runs nightly at 7.30pm from Wednesday 14th to Saturday 17th December with a Matinee performance at 2.00pm on Saturday afternoon. Tickets are still available from McBeath’s Jewellers, Traill Street, Thurso but don’t leave it until the last minute as they are going fast.

Mother Goose Started Last Night In Wick - See Rehearsal Photos
13, 14, 15, 16 & 17 December 7.30 each night Tickets all reserved £8 & £7.  Tickets From Polteney News If any Left.  Worth checking as the Panto is usually one of the highlights of the Christmas season.

Another Development For Wick
Changing Wick
The contract for the construction of an All Weather Pitch at Wick High School Playing fields has been awarded to Malcolm Construction Services Ltd. The floodlit synthetic turf pitch is to be constructed on the playing field of the school at a cost of £584,000 met from The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service.  The pitch will be developed as a multi-sports use playing surface for use by the school and the community by arrangement through the school. The award of contract means that work will start within the next few weeks and completed by late summer 2006. Notes to Editor: Malcolm Construction Services Limited are part of the Malcolm Group - for more details about the company please see their website at:

Watten School's Christmas Show 2005

Playbox Play Group Wick - Christmas Party

Live Web Cam On Traffic Scotland Web Site North Of Helmsdale
This view is from a web cam on the Traffic Scotland web site that recently took over from NADICS.  The camera is looking north.  Other Scottish web cams on the roads for the web site can be seen HERE and no doubt others will be added over time.  We have added link to the Helmsdale web cam on our Helmsdale Index Page


Council Launches Winter Adverse Weather Web Site For Schools In Highland
Parents in Highland can now log on to their computer to check if their child's local school is closed by bad weather. The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service has developed a new winter weather website, , which is now operational. Parents just need to click on to the relevant geographical area for local school closure information. The website allows parents to access school closure information on the internet, thus reducing pressure on the very heavily used school telephone PIN number system.  To help you find this when you need it put it in your favourites.  We are adding it to a number of pages on such as the Emergency Numbers and Schools Index

The Watten BB Football Team That Won the Ellings Cup About 1964
Sent In By Robert Thompson (Robby)
Watten Boys Brigade Who Won The Ellings Cup sometime in the sixties about 1964.  Back row from left - Colin Campbell, Billy Miller, Sid Thompson, Kenny,  Henderson, Robby Thompson, Ian Anderson.
Front row - Ian Jappy ,Sandy Anderson, Colin Macdonald, Ian Macdonald, Peter Sinclair.  Early Years Photo Index If you have a photo you think would be of interest email it to

The Scottish Co-investment Fund - Does Your Business Need Development Funding?
The Scottish Co-investment Fund (SCF) recently benefited from a £500,000 approval by the Highlands and Islands Partnership Programme (HIPP), which administers European funding in the Highlands and Islands.

Caithness Home Start - Countries Quiz Raised £220
For those of you who got stuck the answers to the recent quiz are on the Home Start page

More Pets In The Corner

Dounreay in big clean-up drive - Scotsman

Mother & Toddlers Christmas Party - Free Church Thurso

Dounreay Seeks Way Forward On The Particles
The largest consultation exercise ever undertaken by Dounreay’s operator was announced today to identify the Best Practicable Environmental Option for radioactive particles found in the seabed and beaches near the former experimental reactor establishment. A newsletter is being issued today to more than a thousand registered stakeholders, outlining the results of a £10 million research programme and inviting members of the public to participate in a preliminary phase of engagement.
Bill Fernie Chairman Of The Public Consultation Steering Group Wants To Hear All Opinions
UKAEA has commissioned consultants Entec UK to facilitate the preliminary phase of public engagement and the transparency of the process is being overseen by a stakeholder consultation steering group chaired by Councillor Bill Fernie, who represents Wick West on Highland Council. He said: “A considerable amount of work has gone into looking at how we might present information to the public that is clear and open. The Steering Group is looking forward to assisting everyone involved in making the choices that will decide the future of how we deal with the particles in the environment. From early in 2006 we will be working to ensure that anyone who wishes to can contribute their view and I encourage anyone with an interest to participate.”  Other independent members of the steering group include John Thurso MP and Iain Baikie a physicist who runs KP Technology based in Wick.

And More Voluntary Groups Are Piling Into Change Wick
Pulteneytown Family Centre
The voluntary group that runs a local nursery has raised over £300,00 to redevelop the building behind Telford Street to become a modern Family Centre offering high quality child care and creche facilities.  The development has taken longer than anticipated due to problems acquiring the property initially but that was resolved last year and the project has forged on to raise the necessary funding and building is being carried out by Pentland Construction due to be ready early in 2006

The Changing Fortunes Of Wick

Over the Past Year wick has seen a number of projects start and complete that are helping to change the fortunes of the area.  However much more is already on the ground building with much more on the way.  With more shopping opportunities, more new homes being built and office developments taking place and more seriously being considered there is after man years definite signs of a new day dawning.  The most ambitious of all under the name Wick 21 has hugely ambitious ideas on redevelopment of Wick Harbour.  We have listed a few of the things happening inside. From roads, water, sewerage , new houses, shops and a new heating scheme about to start with a £3.5 million spend in 2006 Wick is going to be extremely busy and it looks likely to continue well into 2007 with what is already on the table.   Let us know of any we may have missed to add to the list.

Caithness Tour - Christmas Tours -  A Minii - Bus Ready To Take Groups Anywhere At Christmas
If you need as mini-bus this festive season you might not think about Caithness Tours but they are available year round. Shopping Party to Inverness, Falls of Shin, elsewhere, give them a call. Christmas Party night out, give them a shout.



The Lybster Players Christmas Concert - Cancelled Due To Illness
The concert has been cancelled due to several acts ill health. This will be re-scheduled probably Mid-January.



Dunnet Switches On Christmas Lights
The Christmas Lights At Dunnet were switched on this year by Lillian Oag. A smaller than usual group turned out for the switch on that has to be set for four o'clock to coincide with the street lights coming on as the decorations are attached to the lampposts.  A smaller turnout than usual was caused by the fact that many children were attending Christmas Party in the Viewfirth club in Thurso.  The lights committee at Dunnet have for the past few years been erecting and maintaining the lights that now stretch to every lamppost in the village.  Santa was on hand for the children.

Pennyland School Class 1963
Sent by Hilary Wilson
This photos has a few names.  If anyone knows the other names please send them in for inclusion.


More Than 35 Jobs Currently On Offer In The Jobs Section
Caithness seems to be getting busier over the past year and the the pace appears to be going up.  Check out the the jobs section where we currently have the most vacancies ever on at any one time.

Wick Caravan Site Now Being Offered For Lease
Highland Council is currently offering the Wick Caravan site for lease to be run as a caravan and camping site.  The caravan site closed last year after the Caravan Club did not renew their lease saying they wished to concentrate on the Dunnet Caravan Site.

Maternity Issue Gets Small Report On Socialist Worker Web Site
This item reflects the fact that North Action Group from the start covered many bases and whilst being non-political set out to involve politicians at all levels and managed to pull in support across the whole spectrum from left to right.

Caithness Flu-like bug Still Hitting The Headlines
Nearly 600 pupils off school with mystery illness -
Hundreds of pupils hit by illness - BBC

Rainbow Guides County Challenge
Rainbow Guides gathered recently at wick Old Parish church Hall from Wick, Thurso and Halkirk to compete making a Christmas Fairy with a wooden spoon as the base.  Mrs Mary Manson and Miss Eleanor Leishman judged the entries and the winner was Thurso, who were presented with the glass Rainbow trophy.

For Highland's Children
A new web site setting out highland information and policies on all aspects of children's services and child protection.  Contact details, and links to other web sites.   You can find the link to this web site and others in our Children's Section

New Telephone Helpline For People With Housing Difficulties
A new telephone advice line aimed at people in the Highlands who are having housing difficulties, at risk of losing their home or who are homeless is now available in the Highlands.
The freephone number is 0808 801 0804.
The Highland Homeless Advice Line is being run by Citizens Advice Direct, a member of Scotland's Citizens Advice Bureau network that has already pioneered telephone advice in Glasgow with great success.  As well as help and information on housing issues, the advice line will help callers on related matters such as debt, benefits and employment.  Every year more people in the Highlands have no where to live, last year 2,050 households applied as homeless to Highland Council.

Surge In Highland Flying Continues
Investment at Inverness Airport to Expand Aircraft Parking Stands

Work is set to start on the expansion of aircraft parking space on Inverness Airport's south apron.  The capital investment of circa £1.6 million has been approved by the Board of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd.
Larger Aircraft Set for Inverness to Manchester and Birmingham Air Routes
Air services between Inverness and Birmingham and Manchester are set for a major enhancement when larger aircraft are introduced on the routes in 2006. Highlands and Islands Airports Limited welcomed the decision by Eastern Airways to increase the capacity on the routes with the introduction of larger aircraft at the end of February - providing almost 1,000 extra seats per week.

Poultry Keepers - SAC Meetings About Avian Flu Protection
They are aimed at all keepers of poultry, but in particular those from the smaller companies, small-holdings and those keeping 'hobby' flocks. Background information on avian influenza will be given and the Government's contingency plans will be explained.

Caithness Cows Supply Milk For New Highland Blue Cheese
A new soft blue cheese Highland Blue, specially developed by Tain cheese-maker Rory Stone for the North Highland Initiative's Mey Selections brand, is set to become a national festive favourite following a Gold medal-winning launch at the recent Cheltenham Cheese Festival. The flavour and quality of the new soft blue cheese, described as: 'Tangy and long; a soft rich blue with creamy notes and a mellow aftertaste', has now attracted the attention of buyers from food retail giant Sainsbury who have launched it on their delicatessen counters in 23 Sainsbury stores in time for the festive season.

Election hopeful swore at Germans - BBC
A general election candidate who upset German tourists by shouting "who won the war?" at them has been fined £250. During the outburst at Skibo Castle, Gordon Campbell, 68, also claimed he would "sort out Bush and Blair".


NW Sutherland Food Link Set Up To Make Local Food More Accessible
Crofters in North West Sutherland are setting up a new system to make fresh and locally grown food more widely available in their area. The Highlands and Islands Local Food Network (HILFN) - set up by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) - and 16 growers in North West Sutherland have set up the North West Sutherland Food Link. The new producer-led community business will link small-scale horticultural growers from Lochinver to Durness and round to Melvich to consumers looking for fresh local food.
Caithness has a growing project Food For Thought that is still in its early stages and although not set up in the same way may develop to make fresh local produce more widely available.

Half of school's roll hit by mystery virus - Scotsman
Yesterday, 420 of the 992 pupils at Thurso High School in Caithness were off with flu-like symptoms. Another 155 youngsters from the 850-pupil Wick High School and half the roll at the 43-pupil Watten Primary have also been hit by the bug.

Its These Years Of Being - Devised Theatre Performance By Acting Students
North Highland College HNC Acting & Performance students present a piece of devised theatre called ‘Its these years of being……’ the material was inspired by the work of American Poet Richard Brautigan (1935-1984).   Performances at North Highland college on 13th and 15th December and 14th December at Lyth Arts Centre..................

Warning as campaigners win maternity unit fight - Scotsman

Culture clash as American school bans kilt - Scotsman
We ran an item picked up by Clan Gunn members in the USA on 22 November -
Support for Nathan Warmack's Right to Wear his Kilt
We thought some of our readers might be interested in signing this online petition from members of the Clan Gunn USA.  Jackson High School is in  Jackson, Missouri, a small city south of St. Louis.  Now the Scotsman has run the story with a photo of Nathan Warmack as the online petition to get the school policy on kilt wearing changed.

NHS Highland Confirms Decision To Employ Permanent consultants In Caithness Maternity Unit
At their meeting today in Inverness the board of NHS Highland confirmed that they will employ three consultant obstetricians at the maternity unit in Wick.  North Action Group have been asked to assist with recruitment.  George Bruce, Bill Fernie and Mollie Baikie attended the meeting on behalf of North Action Group.  George Bruce thanked the board for their decision.

Gibson congratulates Maternity Campaigners
Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament to congratulate the North Action Group (NAG) on their campaign to secure the Maternity Unit for Caithness.  Rob launched the motion in the wake of the announcement from NHS Highland that the maternity service in Wick was to stay clinician led despite the threat of downgrading. Mr Gibson who initiated a debate on the issue in parliament last year said...."It was a campaign on all fronts and showed that by high profile and well organised pressure things in Scotland can be changed. This is a victory for all Caithness, but in particular for those pregnant mothers who should not need to face daunting trips to Inverness as well as the dedicated members of NAG who managed to galvanize the population of the County and surrounding areas to stand up and say no to downgrading."
He continued..."I welcome the decision by NHS Highland and hope that they manage to fill the posts as quickly as possible. This decision should act as a precedent in how to boost life and services in remote and rural areas. Downgrading in rural areas makes the place less attractive for businesses to move to, which in turn has an adverse effect on the population. The government must make sure that rural and remote areas do not lose their life line services that jeopardise a potentially bright future."

Wick Bay On Sunday

More dramatic photos of the sea on Sunday.  These from Marc Macdonald show Wick Bay once again highlighting the power that hammers into the east coast of Caithness from time to time.  Notice the seagulls flying in and out of these waves.  It pays to watch the weather if heading out to the light at the end of the pier in Wick.

Caithness Quilters Held Another Successful Exhibition And Coffee Morning

Caithness Quilters held another successful exhibition and coffee morning for charity on Saturday morning.  Raffle tickets will shortly be on sale for a quilt (number 4 above).  If you are interesting in quilting or getting out to meet people for an evening the group hold their meetings alternately in Wick and Thurso.

Council Lobbying Scottish Executive To Refuse Drinks Licences For Rate Payers In Arrears

Highland Councillors have been advised of the Council's continuing improvement in collections of Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates.  The collection rate of Council Tax from all prior years since the Council was established nine years ago is 96.89%. The amount collected for 2004/5 by the end of that year was 94.1%, and in the current financial year the Council hopes to improve on this rate.

Pulteneytown Academy School, Wick - Latest Newsletter

South School, Wick - Lastest Newsletter

Thrumster Nursery Group Keeping A Close Watch On Child Numbers And Fund Raising
It may appear that things have gone quiet on the Nursery Campaigns front but the Caithness groups are still keeping watchful eye on the situation.  Thrumster are having two members co-opted on to their local community council.  At the same time they are setting out to improve facilities and fund raising to get a new fence erected.  To this end they will be having a coffee morning on Saturday 10 December and launching a Handy Recipe book.  In addition the group are watching child numbers in the area like hawks and have noted that numbers are potentially higher than ever with up to nine children after next Easter.  Realising that housing is a factor in having more young families they are also keeping a close eye on how land becomes available for plots and the availability of housing generally to people with young children.

Apprentices Walk For Charities Pays Off
Earlier this autumn, apprentices employed at Dounreay by UKAEA, RWE Nukem and Johnson Controls embarked on a sponsored walk from the site to Thurso, to raise funds for a number of local charities. In total, £2,500 was raised, and at a recent presentation on site, cheques were handed over to three recipients. The Elaine Sinclair Bed Appeal received £1,250, and the Caithness branch of the Multiple Sclerosis and Caithness Rugby Football Club each received £625.

Secretarial Trainees Raising Funds for Charities
Five local charities have shared almost £3000 raised by secretarial trainees at Dounreay. Gail Steven, Lindsay Banks, Lynne McWilliam and Claire Treasurer capped a series of fund-raising efforts with a sponsored walk from Thurso to Wick.  Their efforts raised £2,822.78 from friends, family and the staff on the Dounreay site.
At a presentation, Gail Steven presented a cheque to Janice Falconer for Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland; Lindsay Banks presented a cheque to Liz Macdonald for Caithness Asthma Society; Lynne McWilliam presented over a cheque to Wendy Oag for Newton Wing Palliative Care Fund; and Claire Treasurer presented a cheque to Lesley Bruce for Caithness Crohns and Colitis Support Group and Jean Bain for Macmillan Cancer Relief.

John Gunn OBE - An Obituary - The Herald
His ancestors came from Caithness and we thought this might be of interest to Gunn's everywhere.

Catching The Mood At Latheronwheel Today
Photographer Martina Cross captured the mod of the day at Latheronwheel today.  See more of her work on The Martina Cross Web site



Latest Pets and A Missing Westie

Thurso Fun Day Takes The Town Into Christmas

Torrential rain in Thurso on Saturday did not dampen the spirits of everyone who turned out to see the Christmas lights switched on.  A laser light show setting going before the lights were switched on by the Gala queen.  Lady Thurso introduced the laser show after thanking all the organisers of the many events on during the day.  In many of the shops staff were dressed in a variety of costumes brightening the gloomy day outside.  Part of Princes street was cordoned off for the day with stalls set up and donkey rides for younger children.

RED FISH - LYTH ARTS CENTRE - Saturday 10th December 8pm
Grey Coast Theatre Company’s latest project – entitled ‘RED FISH’ - unites George Gunn and Andy Thorburn in the development of new Caithness musical theatre. The intrepid pair - who between them have created many characters and songs that have filled theatres and village halls across the Highlands and beyond - will spend a week at Lyth Arts Centre, developing the piece with Helen Mackay and Iain Macdonald – two local actors who graduated in 2003 from the first year of the North Highland College Drama Course.

New Plant Aids PFR Pond Clean-out
The decommissioning of Britain's Prototype Fast Reactor has entered a new stage, with the start-up of a new £500,000 plant for cleaning out a pond where fuel and other radioactive components were stored.  The first active run of the PFR ion exchange plant has been successfully completed, proving the technology that will be used to clean radioactive contamination from the water in the pond and make it safe to discharge to sea.

North School Choir At Somerfields Wick
The choir from North School Wick were out singing at Somerfields store in Wick to entertain the customers.



Initiative At The Edge - South East Development Group Next Meeting
South East Caithness Development Group next meeting will be held in Lybster Outdoor Bowling Hall on Tuesday 6th December 2005 at 7.30pm - all welcome.

Campaigners win battle over northern maternity unit The Herald
CAMPAIGNERS have won a hard-fought battle to save consultant-led maternity services in the north of Scotland. The bitter two-year dispute is expected to end next week when NHS Highland's board agrees to appoint three full-time consultant obstetrician/ gynaecologists to head maternity services at Caithness General Hospital in Wick.

Caithness keeps maternity unit consultants - Scotsman
JUBILANT campaigners in the north of Scotland won their five-year fight  yesterday to prevent the downgrading of the area's only maternity unit. NHS Highland, which had proposed centralising specialist services in Inverness, announced that it was abandoning its radical plan to scrap its consultant-led maternity service at Caithness General Hospital in Wick in an effort to end the controversy.....(Note from NAG -  The five years mentioned is not quite correct as it is two years this time round - it is correct if you add earlier attempts to downgrade the unit - Bill Fernie for North Action Group)

Hospital retains maternity services - Scotsman

Maternity downgrade plan scrapped  - BBC
Report and Video

North Action Group Delighted At NHS Highland Decision On Maternity Services
After Two Years Of Campaigning NAG Members Heard Last Night Of the Decision
Members of the North Action Group at their meeting on Wednesday evening were delighted to hear of the recommendation to go before NHS Highland's Board Meeting on 6th December that authority be given to seek to appoint three substantive obs. & gynae consultants for Caithness General Hospital

The third review of the service at CGH has taken some time but NAG are pleased that at its conclusion attention has been paid to the clearly expressed wishes of the local community.

Front Page Headlines Archive Index From 2000 Onwards